Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2013-09-10


Burial: Truant/Rough Sleeper (Hyperdub, 2012) In which the mystery man follows up the Kindred EP with what is nominally a two-"song" "single," each title divided into silence-separated sections and the whole thing clocking in at 25:32 it says here. Background music it's not--while I admired it fine doing my daytime musical tasks, I only got it when I put it on at five o'clock in the morning, whereupon I discovered that its spooky gravity and deliberate movement suggested elegiac or perhaps even inspirational goals. Fifteen years later, the Alan Lomax gospel samples of Moby's Play are regarded as shamelessly corny in the techno world. I wonder whether the opening organ melody and very nearly hooky keyboard-ostinato facsimile that comes in around 8:30 of "Rough Sleeper" will offend ascetic snobs another decade or two down the line. A-

No Age: An Object (Sub Pop, 2013) With drummer-etc. Dean Spunt's vocals mixed up front and enunciated like he means them, you'd think they'd gone pop on us except that, in the great Moore-Ranaldo tradition, pop is well beyond Spunt's manful monotone. But in the same great tradition, he and guitar-wielding Randy Randall are committed to rendering noise as music. Is that a saxophone lowing underneath "C'mon, Stimmung"'s I'm-OK-I'm-OK? Are those electric cellos bowing behind "An Impression"'s Monet appreciation? Is that a full orchestra plus ornithological field recordings--oh, never mind. I hope not. There's a pleasure on the far edge of song in imagining that two DIY purists are making all these musical noises with their guitar collection and their home studio. A-

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